The vision of a project defines the project’s most general assumptions. It is the answer not only to the question of what we want to do but, more importantly, why we want to carry it out.

Project vision – table of contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Clear vision
  3. How to formulate the project vision?
  4. Organization vision vs. project vision
  5. Summary

Introduction

A vision is not just an imagination-affecting description of the future state that will be achieved as a result of a project: “We will enter the U.S. market with our new product,” or “We will provide great fun for a hundred people at a corporate event.” A project vision is also a powerful motivational tool. This is because it serves to give meaning to the whole endeavor and is a representation of what we want to achieve.

By the example of a corporate event – a person inquiring about the terms, timing and price of renting a hall at the fifth or tenth location may do so with conviction precisely because it is accompanied by a concrete vision. A picture of what all these efforts serve.

The vision needs to be concise, realistic and attractive. Clear enough to get easily familiar with it and remembered it well, For whether the vision is compelling depends not only on the project team’s commitment to it but also on convincing stakeholders that the project is worth starting at all.

Clear vision

The vision is created during the project initiation phase so that all stakeholders know what the whole project is about. Therefore, even before any planning and project implementation activities begin, a very important task is to clarify the vision. It consists of the following steps:

  • Discuss the shape of the vision – to take into account the needs of stakeholders, as well as to see conflicting or mutually exclusive expectations, so all stakeholders should participate,
  • Clearly defining the vision – make a unanimous, perhaps compromise decision on the shape of the vision,
  • Create a vision document that is accessible to all stakeholders – so that you can go back to previous findings, and use the vision statement when motivating the team and telling stakeholders about the project.

These are the steps that make a project a tangible and meaningful endeavor with a defined framework. With a vision, it is already possible at the conceptual level to determine whether an activity fits into the overall project assumptions and scope.

How to formulate a project vision

Project vision statements, or project vision statements, might read as follows: “We will launch an app for young people that will offer discounts on culture in exchange for reviews of places and events.” or “We will design an onboarding process so that new hires can start work quickly and are less likely to quit after their probationary period.”

Thus, these are substantial, general descriptions of the project that define its purpose and motivate the team to engage in the tasks. However, they contain neither the way how to achieve that purpose nor the details of the technical solutions. In other words, the project vision refers to the day-to-day activities of the project team, but it does not determine either what tasks or what specific product or service will result. This is why the vision should remain:

  • ambitious – to set a goal that is not available at hand
  • achievable – the project vision is a general formulation, but it should not contain daunting, fantastic wording
  • general – to include all activities that fall within the project implementation area.

By definition, the project vision should consist of one sentence. Its formulation may come in a longer form, which the project documentation can include. The documentation contains a justification for each area of project implementation, but the starting point for its creation is always one key sentence.

How do you formulate the justifications for your project? Firstly, you should answer the following questions:

  • What do we want to implement? – What will be the overall formulated result of the project? What will the implementation of the project change in the reality into which it fits?
  • For whom are we implementing our project? – Who are its beneficiaries? Who will be our customers?
  • Why do we want to implement this project? – what are our purpose and values?
project_vision

Organization vision vs. project vision

A well-formulated project vision is clear and general enough to remain unchanged throughout the life of the project. Modifications made to the project usually do not affect the shape and relevance of the vision.

However, the project vision is connected to the broader vision of the organization. The organization’s vision defines its current and future goals, its mission and values. Thus, the project vision will refer to the same values, target audience, and characteristics that differentiate the organization’s activities from its competitors. For example, the vision of the organization formulated:

“Supporting culture by creating apps to encourage youth participation in events”.

fits into the vision of the project:

“We will launch an app for young people that will offer free concert tickets in exchange for reviews of venues and events.”

Summary

The vision of a project is related to the expectations we associate with its implementation. It is a general description of the purpose of the project that inspires and motivates the project team to perform. Above all, it has to be concise and compelling. It is thanks to the vision that we will not lose sight of the meaning behind the – often arduous – tasks leading up to the project.

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What is the project vision for? | #14 Getting started with project management caroline becker avatar 1background

Author: Caroline Becker

As a Project Manager, Caroline is an expert in finding new methods to design the best workflows and optimize processes. Her organizational skills and ability to work under time pressure make her the best person to turn complicated projects into reality.

The most important questions

  1. How to formulate a vision for a project implemented by one person?

    When formulating a vision, stick to answering three questions - what, for whom and why we want to implement something. The size of the project team does not matter here.

  2. Is it possible to talk about the mission of the project, analogous to how the vision and mission of the organization are understood?

    An organization's mission statement is a statement of its activities. The organization's vision, on the other hand, defines what it wants to achieve with these actions. Translating this into project activities - a project's vision can be defined as the future state we want to achieve with its implementation. The mission, on the other hand, defines how we want to get there. It can be said to be a roadmap or a list of milestones leading up to the moment of project implementation.

Getting started with project management:

  1. What is a project?
  2. What is project management?
  3. How to manage projects?
  4. Project management methods
  5. Types of projects
  6. 4 examples of projects
  7. Prioritization of projects
  8. Areas of project activity
  9. Definition of success in project management
  10. Why use project management software?
  11. How to choose the best project management software?
  12. Overview of project management software
  13. Project life cycle
  14. What is the project vision for?
  15. Project goal. What is it and how to define it well?
  16. Project initiation phase - what to pay attention to?
  17. The domain of planning in project management
  18. What is a project schedule and what is it for?
  19. How to use milestones in a project?
  20. Project execution
  21. How to prepare a successful project contingency plan?
  22. Importance of project closure
  23. Project failure. 5 reasons why projects fail
  24. 4P of management: project, product, program and portfolio
  25. Most important tasks and responsibilities of the Project Manager
  26. Most useful project manager skills
  27. How to become a project manager?
  28. 5 books every project manager should read
  29. How to set up a project team?
  30. Work breakdown structure - how to delegate work in a project?
  31. How to lead a team during hybrid work?